"Drawing and creativity are huge part of my personality. I can’t imagine my life without it."
Pulling inspiration from nature and the natural world, Aleksandra Kabakova has an artistic practice that’s both wild and precise. Below, she speaks about her commitment to details, particularly in line work renditions of birds and leaves, expressing that it really is the little things that count.
Check out Aleksandra’s shop for more of her work.
How did you come to be an artist?
Since my childhood I wanted to become an artist. My parents have kept many of my drawings and I am very grateful to them for encouragement of my creativity.
I graduated from art school in Russia, which was a very versatile 8 years of education with multiple subjects, such as drawing and painting, art history, traditional arts and crafts, sculpture, etc. Since then, I never stopped drawing or painting.
What materials or tools do you use?
The main artistic tools for me are numerous ink pens, I am constantly buying them because the usage of them is enormous. Working with pen and ink you can endlessly get drown into details, outlining line after line. Also I often combine ink with watercolour, usually it is only one or two colours. I like a contrast combination of black ink outlines with the transparency and fragility of watercolours.
What tip would you give to an artist trying to improve their technical skills, especially drawing?
The basic thing in drawing, as well as in any other fields, is practice. Also, in my opinion, it is important studying such subjects as the life drawing and drawing in plain air.
"I am trying to catch and show the beauty of simplicity. Sometimes images just appear in my mind by themselves; sometimes it happens when I am sleeping, in my dreams."
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I often take my inspiration from the environment and simple things that surround me. I am trying to catch and show the beauty of simplicity. Sometimes images just appear in my mind by themselves; sometimes it happens when I am sleeping, in my dreams.
When did your interest in birds and nature begin?
I have always been attracted to nature, plants, and flowers in drawing. Perhaps it was from my studying at art school where during summer holiday I had to prepare lots of sketches from nature, i.e. “plain-air” drawings. So since then I started sketching numerous landscapes, plants, and flowers.
I love to look attentively at all these little tiny details on flowers and leaves and then to draw every single outline. The same about drawing birds – they have such fragile little feathers with absolutely unique ornament on each of the feather. Nature is so endlessly inspiring.
Where’s your favorite place in nature?
I am deeply inspired by wild nature – forests, lakes, sea shores, and, of course, mountains. For me any travel or just a day out in the woods is a very important part of my creative process. It is like recharging for me, a total rest from the city’s noise. After any trip I create new drawings. This year I was hugely impressed by Norwegian fjords and am planning to make a series of drawings on this theme.
When is the best time of day for you to create new artwork and why?
Actually there is no any particular time to begin a new work. I can draw at any time whether I have planned it or just followed my desire to draw spontaneously. The most important part – just start doing it.
What advice would you give to artists starting out to stay fresh and inspired?
Drawing and creativity are huge part of my personality. I can’t imagine my life without it. For me, as an artist, seeing and watching is a significant part of creative process – just looking around, paying attention to little things. It is vital to be inspired by seemingly ordinary things and to see a special beauty in them. Also it is extremely important from time to time to change environment, to travel, and get inspired by new impressions.